'Lyrically the project is very therapeutic': Moaning's Sean Solomon gets personal

Interview: Moaning

credit: Michael Schmelling

We talk to singer and guitarist Sean Solomon of the LA post-punk three-piece creating a buzz with their angsty and impassioned sound

It was at last year's SXSW in Austin, Texas, that LA band Moaning were first spotted by the cultural behemoths that are Sub Pop. Just one month after that storming set, they were snapped up by the label and, since then, the trio seem to have been on an upward trajectory of releases, shows and plenty of buzz. Sean Solomon, Pascal Stevenson, and Andrew MacKelvie may have known each other through LA's DIY music scene for over a decade but Moaning represents something new for the longtime collaborators.

'We've had access to tons of DIY and all-ages venues growing up,' singer and guitarist Solomon says. 'That helped us have the chance to experiment live at an early age and meet a ton of great musicians. But Moaning is our most mature project; it was a lot more thought out and conceptual. The other bands we started as teenagers and we were still learning a lot.'

Their recently released self-titled debut album demonstrates this maturity, radiating raw post-punk energy and brooding shoegazey vibes. 'I was interested in the duality of the name.' Solomon explains, when asked about the band's mission statement. 'Love and pain are easily mixed up and related to each other. I think the sound plays with that. It's sort of bipolar. It's a very personal record but I hope people relate to it in their own individual ways.'

The first song that Solomon wrote for the project was frenetic album opener 'Don't Go'. 'We all help write the music together now,' he continues 'but lyrically the project is very therapeutic for me and helps me work out problems I'm having. This first album is sort of a thesis statement based around the band name.' Solomon's early recordings may have represented emotions that were specific to him at that time, but with the addition of MacKelvie's rough and ready drumming and Stevenson's husky bass lines, these recordings soon became rich and comprehensive articulations of each member's personality. The end result, with its experimental soundscapes and murky aesthetic, is illustrative of their unique characteristics as well as their synchronicity as a band.

'Don't Go' flows with a harsh and heavily distorted texture, touching on elements of Joy Division, while the more melancholic 'Tired' and 'For Now' slot perfectly alongside the album's more dissonant numbers. 'The Same', the track that originally attracted producer Alex Newport to the band's music, is intense, angsty and impassioned, indicative of everything great about the trio.

With the news of their brilliantly gritty, fuzz-soaked and angular sound quickly spreading beyond the US, they'll soon be heading across the pond to play their first international tour, which Solomon says the band are very much looking forward to, thanks to the online response they've had thus far. Throughout April and May, they'll be supporting fellow Sub Pop punk band METZ in Europe, with shows in Italy, Germany, the UK and Belgium, before they return to the States. If you miss them this time, though, they'll be back in the UK in June, playing solo shows as well as support slots for Canadian post-punk quartet Preoccupations.

While the tour is imminent and clearly at the forefront of their minds, like all newly signed and aspiring acts, Moaning are already looking ahead to the next year.

'We want to play as much as possible and keep getting better.' Solomon says. 'We've been writing a ton of new music and we're excited to record the next album.' With such a promising debut already under their belts, the future looks to hold a whole lot of noise and many more musical adventures for the LA three-piece.


LA based post-punk trio comprised of Sean Solomon, Pascal Stevenson, and Andrew MacKelvie, who are one of Sup Pop's newest signings.